Wisconsin Recall Bust

Aquarian Weekly 6/13/12 REALITY CHECK

RECALL BUST Wisconsin Makes Big Bucks Off Political Theater

As far as Machiavellian political maneuvers go, The Wisconsin recall election was a bust. Governor Scott Walker, who had already won an election two years ago, was forced to run again over some bogus Democratic Party/Federal Employee Union petition by barely a quarter of the state. Worse yet, he had to spend time and energy defeating the same guy he roundly beat 17 months prior. As far as a media blitz, though, it was hugely successful. Cable news got two to three weeks of host yammering and a spate of bemused reporters standing in front of statehouses. It certainly beats the hell out of covering the completely meaningless New Jersey Republican primary. But where it really hit a home run was the influx of national attention and state funds that poured into Wisconsin during the thing.

Scott WalkerIt is the first time outside a Green Bay Packers run that the citizens of Wisconsin have appeared this relevant. Wild protests, legal wrangling, heated debates, backdoor deals, inter-party tensions, walkouts, brawls, and the rare recall election option put the Badger/Cheese state in play. Turns out its young governor, a nerdish wonk, the kind of dweeb beaten repeatedly for most of his early life is no evil genius or dark figure. Hardly. He’s white bread, middle-America haircut material, an eat-your-vegetable-and-hold-your-nose austerity chief. Walker is nothing if not a microcosm of what you get from say a Mitt Romney or Quint from “Jaws” — Sorry, folks, this place is insolvent; time to suck it up, so we can get your businesses back on a payin’ basis.

Which brings us to the money.

The Republican Party and its anti-union interests (13 out-of-state billionaires) poured in a surplus of $30 million with nearly four million contributed to pro-union and Democratic Party brokers, about an 8 to 1 split in favor of the governor. The totals ended up around a cool $62 million to basically put on a show for the nation; big time profits that will do more to yank the state from its morass than anything Walker could have accomplished in a decade.

It was a Mr. Magoo deal; dumbass incompetence falling ass-backwards into riches; a state version of Donald Trump complete with the gibberish.

But aside from opening up the cash coffers and exciting political junkies, the Wisconsin Recall came and went with everything remaining in place; people who want to be are convinced this is a TEA Party victory and have claimed it so, and others have called it the bane of modern draconian politics from the Right, as Bill Clinton did in his brilliantly conniving way the other day when he couched all this Republican austerity with the disasters in Greece, France and Spain; where the entitlement swansong has led to double-digit unemployment and teen rioting.

None of this is true, of course.

It was a Mr. Magoo deal; dumbass incompetence falling ass-backwards into riches; a state version of Donald Trump complete with the gibberish.

The Wisconsin Recall had nothing to do with the all-but dead TEA Party or the new Clintonion “vast right wing conspiracy”. It merely made the citizens of the state re-do a vote for the guy they voted for in the first place. Disagreeing with the governance of an official is no reason to rouse up a recall; malfeasance, mental incompetence or blatant disregard for the state constitution, maybe. Otherwise you are assured that a minimum 25 percent of any electorate will be unhappy about the results; in this era, it is well north of 40 percent. It’s a bullshit concept and resulted in nothing more than senseless hoo-ha; the cornerstone of political theater. But it was a cash bonanza, so all is forgiven.

And this goofy notion that this is a referendum on any other state’s unions or what will happen in the presidential election this November is as asinine as the arguments two months ago about gas prices.

Atavistic one-trick ponies like Walter Russell Mead, acting the part of a 1930s union buster, surmises in The American Interest that “Scott Walker attacked the American labor movement where it lives.” Yes, like when Jesse Jackson blathers on about racism in New York City instead of in the South where, if he had any balls, he would set up camp. Let’s see this song and dance in Michigan, jack. How about Ohio? This is where the American Labor movement lives and breathes and wields its bloated power. Hacking off health plans for schoolteachers in a cheese state where manufacturing isn’t even on the map does not a national referendum make.

But Mead’s disjointed partisan claptrap did make one salient point beyond providing an excellent sample of his spectacular naiveté, the Democrats and the Left did pick this fight and it was dumb and it was doomed and by all rights of honest battle, they should pay a price. But they won’t.

Maybe Mead and his ilk never heard that all politics is local. The people of Wisconsin, who haven’t cast a majority vote for a Republican since 1984, will vote once again for a Democrat, and what goes on in the rust-belt from Pennsylvania through Ohio into Michigan will depend on each state’s current standing and the strength of each campaign’s ground-level muscle. They are disparate pieces of a larger pie. Ohio — toss-up — Pennsylvania — Democrat — Michigan — an interesting twist of Romney home state versus the successful bailout of the auto industry; so far it appears to be a serious lean towards the president.

Walker barely campaigned. He smartly stood his ground and allowed the special interests of the national party brokers; the ones who shoehorned Romney past nickel-and-dimers like Santorum and Gingrich, to fill in the cracks with cash and manpower. The unions received a few appearances by MSNBC and Bill Clinton but were widely ignored by the Wall Street president not wanting to queer his anywhere from five to nine point lead in the state. The idea that this will alienate the important and powerful union lobby for the Democrats in the fall is fantasy, just like the Religious Right staying home or (gulp!) voting for Barack Obama because Romney has a lengthy record as a social liberal.

The national lessons of the Wisconsin Recall is recall away if you want to get some attention and money, but don’t expect a different result.

 

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“Death of a Salesman” 2012

Aquarian Weekly 5/23/12 REALITY CHECK

THE DEFIANT CAPITALIST RETURNS
In Praise of Death of a Salesman at the Barrymore Theater

Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! – Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman – Biff, Act 2, Part 7

In the guise of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the mid-twentieth century victim of urbanization, progress, and the delusions of facile success as image, Willy Loman emerges as the defiant lion of the twenty-first century; not a 99 percenter or a TEA Party activist, but a true believer in the American myth, to the bitter end, as bitter as the gorgeous solemnity of Arthur Miller’s finest work allows him.

Phillip Seymour HoffmanThe stirring new Broadway staging of Death of a Salesman at the Barrymore Theater is as good as live theater gets, with an intense cast of emotionally charged players straining with each scene to match Hoffman’s mesmerizing shifts in and out of Loman’s manic mood swings, his bi-polar hallucinations, and long, disturbing pauses that leave the room bereft of oxygen again and again. Hoffman polimorphically manifests jazz great, Miles Davis’ immortal line about the emotion of all music being found in the silences, the notes not played as pertinent as the ones heard.

Hoffman is a ferociously broken wing of the post-war affluence of American spirit, as Loman is written and has been played for more than half a century and on Broadway four different times during parts of six decades, but he is never defeated, roused like a schlep Lazarus or as the whispering voices in a foxhole near the end of a battle the doomed cannot win but cannot yet admit they will never exit alive. Miller’s aim for his timeless tragic anti-hero was to lull audiences into sympathy before the crushing denouement when the truth of the man’s illusions destroys his meager legacy, his fractured family, and his barely subsistent pride. Hoffman, while respectful to the historic playwright, manages to turn this well-crafted ruse on its head by tearing open Loman’s fears of irrelevance into a defiant protest, refusing to accept being unloved, unsuccessful and lost in a time and place not of his making.

But it is not Hoffman for whom this play shines brightest, but his co-star, the young and talented Andrew Garfield, in his stage debut as the ever-wandering loser, Biff. Best known, as is Hoffman, for his film work, most recently as Eduardo in The Social Network and soon-to-be the newest Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, Garfield instinctively commands the stage at his most vulnerable and crazed. Opening the play in boxers and a tank-top tee, his taught muscles and ruffled hair depict a yearning for an escape out West, away from the crushing pressures of the city and his childhood expectations. He closes it strangled by the imprisoned business attire he dons against his will to save his father’s life. Garfield physically becomes the myths of the play.

Death of a Salesman is a good as modern tragedy gets and its current revival proves it.

Here at their nadir, Loman and his son are pitted against each other, held together by blood and lies, as both rage against the machine that churns on without them, even when, for a fleeting second years ago, deep in the glory days of fading sunshine, they are on a suicide run together; one ideological, the other quite literally. And here, to his credit, Hoffman is generous with his skills. As in many of his films, he allows others to shine, expanding his role by sharing the spotlight. Whether playing opposite Meryl Streep in Proof or Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller or Magnolia with Tom Cruise or The Savages with Laura Linney, Hoffman duly supports his co-stars and brings the stories to life.

The play’s director, Mike Nichols, whose acrobatic use of symbolism in his 1968 film masterpiece, The Graduate that turned a dime-store novel of alienation into a generational siren, uses light and imagery, music and a constant unnerving movement to portray the banality of the urban dirge as something more than tragedy. In Nichols’ hands this is a story of unrequited redemption, only because it is the insignificant little damages that lead to the unraveling of contentment in modern times, or as poet Charles Bukowski once mused, it is the broken shoelaces and not massive trauma that drives a man to madness.

Nichols, who has never made a film nearing the perfection of The Graduate, has nevertheless proven his mastery for visual metaphors, as his Death of Salesman brims with one hammering reminder after another that the worth of a man’s existence in a country that had paved over most of its frontier by 1949 is ever more ambiguous. Instead, he is replaced by industry and the automobile, technology, commerce and war. Thus, all the talk about open spaces, wilderness treasures, high-rise executive mastery and daring individualism is cast inside a claustrophobic set design – dreary catacombs from the tiny front porch to the cramped kitchen, the shoebox bedrooms set below tenement windows closing in all around.

But Death of a Salesman is not a political or social treatise; it is a play about lies – domestic, familial, professional and internal; all of the rationalizations and petty misdirection that salves the ticking clocks of our lives. And no one affiliated with this latest run of an American masterpiece, from small walk-ons through the four major players, is unaware of this. There is a reverence for the greatness of the work, but also a bold expanse of its most cherished moments.

Death of a Salesman is a good as modern tragedy gets and its current revival proves it.

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The Art of Politics vs. The Act of Liberty

Aquarian Weekly 5/16/12 REALITY CHECK

WELCOME TO THE FUNHOUSE The Art of Politics vs. The Act of Liberty

Whoopie!

The president of the United States agrees with the Bill of Rights. This is a novel concept, like when a kid begins to understand the alphabet as not merely being the lyrics to a cute song to memorize or a series of strange symbols that form different sounds but pieces of a larger linguistic puzzle. I guess if Barack Obama, a constitutional law professor, has “evolved” into this realm of sound legal reasoning after a half century on this planet, a Harvard education, and three years as leader of the free world, we should shout hosannas to the highest mountain or decry him as a heretic and whatever “war on…” has re-entered the vox populi.

Not here, bub.

Gay MarriageHere we’re not fond of latecomers to the obvious. Detractors, and there are many, to this thinking claim that it is about time a politician in some form of power base utter these sentiments. Sure. Baby steps. First there’s “Will & Grace”, the vice president on Meet The Press, then some non-denial denials, spin doctoring, sample polling, and voila! common sense reasoning of civil rights and the liberties purportedly granted to American citizens by the United States Constitution!

Hoo-Ha!

I feel like cracking a beer and saluting this great nation. Oh, yes, the enlightened have triumphed again over the darkness of ignorance and we’ll forge ahead, as we have done time and again for nearly 240 years of blessed freedom!

Right, and George W. Bush was going to enact an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004 if you elected him again. You did. And you know how many times this was mentioned after January of 2005?

Anyone? Bueller?

Zero times. Yes. Not a wit. Not even a ‘looking into it” or “under advisement”. Captain Shoo-In was as successful at that as winning wars and keeping us out of Chinese debt.

This Obama “coming to religion” (pun duly intended) on this issue of same-sex marriage and the law protecting the rights of the citizenry of our humble republic reeks of Woodrow Wilson promising the women’s vote to the suffrage movement during his desperate run for re-election in 1916 and then ignoring it and the suffragettes for three long years before being brow-beaten by congress to ratify the 19th Amendment, allowing, finally, embarrassingly, pathetically, women to vote.

And Wilson is what passed for “progressive” at the turn of the American Century. This is akin to calling Adam Sandler a thespian.

In election years presidents will say all kinds of things for different reasons. Lincoln’s re-election centered on relocating freed blacks to Caribbean colonies in Belize and had his head remained bullet free maybe the Great Emancipator would be now known as The Great Evictor or maybe it was just off-the-cuff campaign-speak. I am sure, in a bizarre confluence of circumstance and social interaction, that the 50 year-old Obama, a man from my generation, a man who had directed the course of his life to the intricacies of constitutional law would suddenly arrive at this conclusion due to the wisdom of his barely teenage daughters and the loving example of their friends’ same-sex parents. But for the sake of intellectual safety, I’m going to lean on the side of dicey.

This is our embarrassment now, my generation and our flip-flop president, all enlightened, like coming to the eventual conclusion that sucking smoke into the lungs would somehow be harmful or feeding piles of processed fast food into our kids wouldn’t make us grotesquely obese.

But we’ve been on this for well over ten years now and admittedly it was hard to imagine any really high-level player in American politics saying such a thing and not being doomed for it. And Obama may still be, but the electoral maps says otherwise, and one wonders if he has the gall to dive into a social battle with what looks to be a lesser but still Republican-controlled congress on a fringe social issue. But one thing is certain, if this is how the president is thinking and he intends to govern this way, if re-elected (again, still both of these are of rather dicey propositions) then it will be in his Supreme Court appointments that may ultimately determine what should have, and technically already is, determined: The denial of basic rights to any citizen is not only un-American (an ideological almost spiritual slice of poppycock), it is patently illegal under our most sacred tenet, the Constitution.

Let’s face it; Obama hedged his bet by immediately pointing out this was a state’s rights issue, which brings us back to wondering what the hell all that constitutional law learnin’ was for?

The yin-yang of all this controversial fallout is that the Republicans, more directly; their candidate for the highest office, Mitt Romney must take the other side, garnering the all-important religious-fanatic/bigot-centric vote. Romney, on record during four different campaigns as being not only for same-sex marriage but vowing to champion it, has gone the Santorum route on this, as he must. This is his only shot in swing states not named Florida. The base will love it, the FOXNEWS geeks and Rush Limbaugh and whatever other Right Wing dog and pony act is out there protecting us from ourselves.

But what of the independent vote? What of the religious liberals, or those who somehow have innocently mistaken tradition for law or morals for liberty, the foxes that were allowed a prime spot in the henhouse during Morning in America when The Gipper unleashed the primordial slime of Ed Meese to run roughshod over pornography and music and drugs and artistic dissonance. It’s too late to expunge these nuts; they are more powerful than six Black Panther parties and five KKK resurgences. These are the carping knuckle-draggers that have interpreted a nation of laws and personal liberty as a pox on Israelite Bible fantasies. They are the ones who mistake the distinction of a homosexual citizen as a convenient substitute for citizen the way their predecessors mistook the distinction of women as an excuse to deny citizen rights or the distinction of African Americans first from human and then citizen. They’re act is as old as the parchment they besmirch.

This is our embarrassment now, my generation and our flip-flop president, all enlightened, like coming to the eventual conclusion that sucking smoke into the lungs would somehow be harmful or feeding piles of processed fast food into our kids wouldn’t make us grotesquely obese.

The whole thing is another sickening reminder of how far we are from thorny concepts like freedom and liberty and all those flag-waving, ribbon-tying shenanigans that have put us on goof-alert for my entire time sucking air on this spinning sphere. We talk a good game but are paralyzed for long stretches when the going gets tough. That fact that the president of the United State uttering the idea of upholding the Bill of Rights for a segment of our fellow taxpayers is news is all you need to know about how utterly ridiculous a declaration of We The People really can be when ignored.

 

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Observations of a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

 

Aquarian Weekly 5/9/12
REALITY CHECK

MAKE WAY, MICK JAGGER
Observations of a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer

Hello, my name is James Campion and I am a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s right. Me. Officially voted in with The Aquarian Weekly, America’s longest running music newspaper. Yes, siree. Right in there with Keith Richards, Elvis Presley and Alan Freed is jc from the Bronx, NYC.

Suck it, Lindsey Buckingham.

According to Sara Haber of The Syndicate, “With over 40 years of publishing, every issue of The Aquarian Weekly will be available at the Rock and Rolls Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives, which the company hopes to collect, preserve, and provide access to students, educators, journalists and the general public to broaden awareness and understanding of rock and roll, its roots, and its impact on our society.”

That means the entire volume of vile, radical, spastic nonsense that has emanated from the Reality Check News & Information Desk from August of 1997 to these very words (these ones too) are available in the great shrine to The Beatles, The Who, Bob Dylan, and some of the other guys.

Rock and Roll Hall of FameAlso words like “moronically feckless”, which appeared in this space on 10/6/10 to describe the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will be available to peruse. And while visiting there, we hope you also see: “And let’s be honest, the entire concept of having a shrine or snobbish observance of rock & roll is antithetical to everything the damn art form stands for in the first place, and second, and most disturbing, is it confirms what purist caretaker, Lester Bangs predicted and oft-times celebrated as its demise propagated by the over-intellectualizing arrogance of the ‘rock critic elite’.”

Ah, yes. It was so long ago, I could hardly remember conjuring it, much less typing it out and sending it to press. I was obviously filled with the kind of hate and rage only my sixth gin & tonic rouses. I was not thinking clearly, quite obviously panicked from lack of sleep and a crushing deadline. I have written far worse things about people and institutions and have been awarded handsomely for it. It’s all part of the magic of “weekly music content and social issues for all its readers” that Ms. Haber rightly opines.

Eat shit, Donovan.

And so, as a card-carrying member of the Hall, I can now visit Cleveland, if I lose a bet, and saunter through the doors of the glassed museum and wave my hand blithely at the dead-eyed matron at the front desk asking me for an entrance fee and puff; “Dear madam, I am an honored member here. I shan’t be paying for anything, in fact, I expect when I enter there be a long, red carpet for me and these homeless people I met four minutes ago; you know, a plus-three scenario for museum dignitaries.”

And to think, I’ve been missing my many trips to Bank of America during the bailout demanding to see the ledgers and asking them to turn off a few of the lights to keep the monthly billing down. I was owner, after all.

But this is much, much better.

Blow me, Metallica.

I suppose congratulations are in order for this paper, mainly for printing every half-baked, off-the-wall, borderline dangerous thing that’s come out of my head these past fifteen years (some kind of Aquarian columnist record, according to one of the many editors for whom this space has toiled).

I suppose congratulations are in order for this paper, mainly for printing every half-baked, off-the-wall, borderline dangerous thing that’s come out of my head these past fifteen years (some kind of Aquarian columnist record, according to one of the many editors for whom this space has toiled). But mostly for being a damned fine, unflinching and irascible example of underground press this nation has known. The Aquarian Weekly is one of the few independently owned newspapers left. No corporate overlords to skew the measure; stronger, as Jim Morrison once sang, than dirt.

I was proud to be a part of the wonderfully laid out tribute issue last week; I suppose that 9/11 cover of my horrible prediction in 1998 will follow me to the grave. Of course I had to put it in my second book, so there you go.

Plans are already being drawn up for the evening of the induction ceremony over at the Waldorf or some other swanky New York dump. A quick word with my esteemed editor and chief, J.J. Koczan has set in motion several irritating maneuvers that involve rotten fruit, stink bombs and a FUCK JANN WENNER tee shirt.

I expect, nay insist on being the first inductee ejected from a Hall of Fame, beating O.J. Simpson by a long shot.

Koczan warns that security is tight at these things, “lest anyone should actually get a close-up look at the dudes from Def Leppard.” Ouch. I never had problems with those guys, but then I never had to cover them. I found dealing with the assholes representing Radiohead to be a far fouler assignment.

It’s important to point out to many of the readers of this space online or within my mailing list that I have produced many a music-related story of The Aquarian over the years. It’s not all anti-social quasi-political rants. And what kind of tribute would this be if I didn’t properly thank this paper for giving me the opportunity to suggest and produce several cover pieces, including features on Ralph Nader, Alice Cooper, Lucinda Williams, Counting Crows, Tori Amos and John Waters, to name just a few.

Over the years, I got to spend quality time and in some cases befriend several heroes and artists I admire greatly, including Adam Duritz, Paul Stanley, Ani DiFranco, and one the best and dearest friends I have, Dan Bern. I got to hang with Prince and Walt Clyde Frazier at press junkets. I know Clyde wasn’t a rock star, but he dressed like one. I published two volumes of my work here and added Parker Posey and Rage Against The Machine to my enemies list.

But enough about this publication; it’s time for me to ring up the Hall of Fame and get me some swag.

Spin on that, Abba.

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GOP Lockdown 2012

Aquarian Weekly 5/2/12 REALITY CHECK

GOP LOCKDOWN Republican Establishment Begins to Clean House

Reince Priebus is on the wagon. The RNC chairman’s days of drunken violence and crude behavior are behind him. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and the faux conservative uprising of 2010 has been duly defeated. The TEA Party is a memory and so is all of the ugliness of Paul Ryan and debt ceiling debates. Revolution and upheaval has been replaced with spin-with-the-wind business lingo; the framing of national debate best figured by pinpoint polling results. This is about quiet opposition and bland rhetoric; gone will be the religious pronouncements, social reconstruction or fatalistic demagoguery. Show time, folks, is over. The return of Rockefeller Republicanism is back.

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall. It has been a steady slog, interrupted slightly by messy voting and nose-holding support from those who naively misread the 2010 mid-term elections as some kind of binding grass roots anti-government sentiment, the way the Left was sure the 2008 elections put the kibosh on the prior eight years of geo-political, big government overreach.

The Republican Party is not in the business of changing or challenging or creating serious opposition to the status quo. It wants a healthy slice of the status quo and its titular representative, the head of its aims, is Willard Mitt Romney, a 65 year-old moderate ex-governor and mediocre corporate raider with comportment from central casting and an amazing ability to live not only above the fray of most pressing national issues, but outside any true ideology. He is a political automaton created to be the face and breadth of a political party – easily molded and coachable. His debate performances, although mildly uneven and malleable, against fairly ferocious debaters in the primary season was testament to his ability to shift and parry. His post-primary speeches, strikingly general election orientated, rang the bells Republican leaders needed rung; “You don’t like this, neither do I, and I’ll stop it.” No details, no plans, no direction, but up.

Anyone who thinks this horribly weak model is not a good national election candidate is working on a short memory. Bill Clinton comes to mind, a centrist candidate with a fairly moderate gubernatorial record, bobbing and weaving his way through primary gaffs and faulty rhetoric. Of course, Romney is no Clinton in the sense that his charms fall more on the muted side, if there are charms at all, but this is the perfect anecdote if you are going against the Rock Star President, Joe Cool; who is well liked to the tune of over 70 percent, despite nearly the same number believing he and his policies stink to high heaven; an interesting balancing act that only Ronald Regan was able to pull off in 1984.

The Republican establishment might not have enthusiasm, glitter and pizzazz on its side, but it knows that this year that’s bullshit. Glitter and pizzazz straddled the party with Sarah Palin, one of the most damaging characters that hit the national stage in over half a century; a truly vacuous polarizing gasbag, who while exciting the base scared the living shit out of the crucial Independent vote and handed vital states like North Carolina, a Republican stronghold, over to Barack Obama.

This time the polls, although hardly a trustworthy measuring stick in the past two presidential election cycles, have been steady for months. Even with the complete obliteration of the Hispanic vote and a major shift among women voters, the Independent stronghold for Obama in 2008 has continued to wane without halt. Depending on the poll more Right Wing pollsters decide the Independent vote comes in at 45-37 in favor of Romney, but more balanced have it at 47-45, which is spot-on for a fairly non-threatening economic-centric (bland and steady) candidate to keep, if there are no Sarah Palin screw-ups.

Mitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall.

But social, gender and independent voting blocks aside, this is not technically a national election (ask Al Gore), but a gathering of electoral votes throughout 50 diverse states of varying districts, social constructs and economic realities. Think, for instance of Michigan, a state for which Romney and the Republicans have rightfully determined is a goner, whether its candidate publicly decried its subtenant business existence during the auto bailouts or not. But Pennsylvania, a Democratic bedrock for decades, is in play. The party had figured as far back as January during Priebus’ booze-addled hiatus, that Santorum was going to follow-up his 2006 senate re-election bid trouncing by failing to win his home state, a state he would likely cough up in November. If Romney is the candidate the party thinks it has bargained for, Pennsylvania and even Ohio could be taken.

This is the only way Romney can win. While national sentiment and modest Independent support is a given, the electoral map is not friendly territory, and only a non-factor candidate can change that.

Right now Republicans poll miserably in the swing states, as well as many of the states not guaranteed to the president, meaning if the economy does not improve and/or unemployment doesn’t dip into the mid-sevens, a scarecrow with enough money could put dents into this reality. This was never going to happen with Santorum or Gingrich or the bevy of misfits before them. According to Republican thinking, this time around cold strategy, not passion wins the day. Passion was 2008, and what Republicans want is to forget that year and the economic collapse its party helped to create and the resultant big-government stimulus that ultimately averted it.

What in late 2007 this space described as a detriment could well be a winning element in 2012:

“Watch Romney speak some time. Really watch him. The eyes dart spastically, the brow furrows, his speech patterns falter and then queer altogether. He often looks like the boy who has just realized he’s lost in a department store; that eerily suspended moment of panic-clarity before the freak-out. Romney has that look right now as he blurts out the phrase “moral convictions” every thirty seconds to keep from convulsing. I half expect a reptile to explode from his rib cage at any moment.” – MITT ROMNEY – DON’T ASK – DON’T TELL – Issue: 12/12/07

This was our coverage of a speech Romney delivered trying to separate his Mormon faith from that of his legitimacy for the presidency, the kind of speech that makes religious stalwarts like Santorum ill, but makes strategic sense. It was something Romney and his advisers felt he had to do in 2007, but now rings as hollow as Romney himself. This is economic times, not a time for “moral convictions” to which Barack Obama wins in almost any poll conducted.

It is the year of the tortoise and the hare, in which the Republicans will paint the president as a celebrity good-guy whose charisma has failed to unite, galvanize and “change” this nation or more importantly this government over his first term. That, and only that, and whatever unforeseen happenstance may happen this summer, will give the Republicans a chance to do what five years ago seemed like a goofy pipedream, control the two main branches of the government again, as it did in 2000, when the nation had a surplus and thought itself impervious to international attack.

In other words, the salad days for Republicanism, before the Bush/Rove/Cheney people hijacked it with so-called anti-Republican nation building and non-funded government bloating.

A state-by-state, statistical strategy devoid of purpose or direction, beyond winning the White House, will transform Mitt Romney’s weakness into strength.

 

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The Buffett Rule?

Aquarian Weekly 4/25/12 REALITY CHECK

THE BUFFETT RULE?

It’s national campaign time and the Democrats have joined the crazy. Six months of idiocy from the Republicans was apparently enough. Check that; to understand what is going on in congress with what is officially coined the Paying a Fair Share Act is merely the volley returned for the TEA Party induced mayhem that stalled Capitol Hill during last year’s Debt Ceiling Debate. Congress has now become the land of vacant bills thrown into the chamber to make grandiose ideological statements with a political slant; or, as they like to say on K STREET, “business as usual”.

The Paying a Fair Share Act has as much teeth as the legislative branch of the federal government not paying its bills, to which it should mean none. But what it does accomplish, although eventually backfired on Republicans – unless there are still some who hang their hat on calling this the “Lowered Credit Rating President” – is put the 99 percenters (the latest street-cred protest, ala the TEA Party) in the conversation and fan the flames of class warfare and populism that is polling through the roof these days.

It’s a wise move from a defensive party hoping to maintain the executive branch in a crawling economic recovery and escalating gas prices, but it’s the epitome of farce; “a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character”. Substitute “plot” with “public discourse” and “character” with “law” and you got yourself a free campaign ad.

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe. It’s the grand ruse you must swallow to be part of an ostensibly free society wherein freedom is merely doled out incrementally through a series of pacifications. We agree only with this systemic patronization because, really, what’s our choice?

The origin of the Paying a Fair Share Act is of course the famed Buffett Rule, dubbed by Barack Obama in 2011 after billionaire Warren Buffett’s claim that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. This led to Senate minority leader, Harry Reid’s proposal of a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. This predictably went nowhere with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and wasn’t even broached in the president’s 2013 budget proposal, but suddenly with the Rick Santorum follies shut down for the season, here comes the big guns.

Of course, big guns are never needed when shooting fish in a barrel, as it is when the rich are put on trial. It’s the oldest scam on the books. French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Cuban Revolution, hell you can make a solid case for the American Revolution propping the wealth class up as a symbol of a country’s ills. You could even rightfully argue that in all those cases the wealth class was indeed public enemy numero uno, but what does that do for the proletariat but to be force-fed into another cauldron of steaming bullshit to be exploited by the fallout?

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe.

This is no place to start bringing up capital gains taxes and debt reduction and redistribution of wealth. Let the economists and pseudo pundits frame their own guesswork there. The problems with both the Buffett Rule and the Paying a Fair Share Act can be found in its choice of terms; “paying” and “fair” and “share” and “rule”. None of these apply to the United States of America, no matter how many countries we bomb or benefits we bestow. This was not a country founded on “fair” in any way shape or form. It is also a country loath to “share”. In fact, there are still paid employees of the state who yammer on ceaselessly about the veiled threat of socialism the minute they hear the words fairness and sharing. This is why in its humblest way this is the greatest nation in modern civilization. It reflects the barest truth about life in general: It is unfair and sharing is about as natural a human trait as flying. And “paying”? Who the hell likes paying for anything; monetarily, emotionally, personally, or otherwise? And nobody, but nobody, beyond the truly religious (.00001 percent) digs a fucking “rule”.

This space spent months last year warning Republicans that harping on the national debt was bad mojo which would come back to claim its pound of flesh, and boy has it ever. Republican Patron Saint, Ronald Reagan once proclaimed that “deficits don’t matter” and he did so because his main goal was to cut taxes and bloat military spending, the former of which he failed miserably to achieve having raised taxes some seven different times during his two-term presidency, as the latter he joyfully scored again and again. This apparently is still the Republican goal, which is something akin to toasting sobriety. Without raising taxes and cutting spending the national debt will soar, something the Bush 43 presidency blatantly illustrated, and precisely why 60 percent of Americans are keen on having the rich foot the bill.

Here’s the thing; why don’t all the wealthiest assholes that want to pay down the debt pool their money and do it. No rules. No fairness. No sharing. No new laws. Just get together a handful of billionaires, pro jocks, rock stars, computer geeks, reality TV jack-offs, and slip some checks to the Chinese. Find that dipshit G.W. Bush and his daddy and pull some of his own patriotic bullshit and guilt him into some funds. The Clintons are worth millions. Let’s pony up, Billary.

The biggest problem with the Buffett Rule and The Paying a Fair Share Act is that it forces the hand of those with coffers to legally hand it over. Why not appeal to their better angels, or failing that (since “better angels” usually does not apply to hiding laundered money in the Cayman Islands) boycott their interests. Now we’re talking some real grassroots, ugly, sweaty unfair misrule of democracy.

Until then, count this as the first salvo to pit popular opinion against Mitt Romney, who already has a steep hill to climb pivoting on some goofy anti-Latino and anti-women shit he had to spout to jettison the pesky Santorum that has cost him dearly. This is why you already hear him desperately pissing on the media. Maybe Romney forgot, the key to democracy is that “unfair” applies to everyone.

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Revenge of the Nerds

Aquarian Weekly 4/11/12 REALITY CHECK

REVENGE OF THE NERDS GOP Establishment Corner Conservative Insurrection

The Alamo for theshort-lived TEA Party Era and its social conservative underbelly is nigh. It takes place as this goes to press with its best presidential candidate left ignoring polls, election results, pundit prognostication, entrenched Republican power-plays, high-profile endorsements, a paltry campaign bankbook, history, and his party’s better wishes to quit. Rick Santorum’s consolidated support has a staunch foundation that appears ready to make one last pitch to Republican voters to curtail the candidacy of moderate, Mitt Romney. And the anger in the Republican Party today is palpable.

Reince PriebusDespite protestation to the contrary, party officials are convinced that this primary season has severely weakened an already pathetic candidate, who after nearly six years running for president has taken far longer than any expected to clear a shaky field. The process has taken its toll; shedding likely Independent support as well as eradicating the women’s vote, which has gone from a 14 percent gap to a present 37 percent chasm. A national candidate with a singular economic message in a dire economic landscape was dragged kicking and screaming into ethnic, social, religious and gender issues that has cost the party precious time and money in which to aim at an extremely vulnerable incumbent.

The party knows this middling argument that a protracted primary fight that assisted the branding of Barack Obama in 2008 does not apply to Romney. In the winter of ’07 Obama was an unknown commodity and trailing a political monolith whose credentials and long-standing party affiliation was daunting. Hillary Clinton not only owned the Democratic Party when Obama began his long slog to the nomination, she had all the money and prospects to earn her Madam Shoo-in tag. Not to mention Obama’s grassroots, social media strategy that took time to develop and expand in each state he contested; something that closed the familiarity and money gap with each primary.

In this hackneyed analogy, Romney is Hillary Clinton. He has the party gravitas, the treasure and the name recognition that by all measures of competition should have laid waste to what at first was a comical set of challengers that eventually turned into a rank amateur opposition. Newt Gingrich never had any money and hardly maintained a coherent strategy from the opening bell. After the anti-Romney wing ran out of Trojan Horses, Santorum was left standing — a man with less resources and a far more haphazard organization than Gingrich.

But it mattered little in the end. The Republican Party rounded up every statesmen, governor and celebrity within the contiguous United States to beat the drum, albeit half-heartedly, for Romney, reasoning that the object is to present a viable candidate to defeat this president, a constitutional lawyer, whose signature piece of legislation is about to be deemed a pox on that very document by the Supreme Court with an over 8 percent unemployment number and rising gas prices. Money and pressure from the media — along with several antediluvian stances on 21st century concepts — sunk Rick Santorum and the underground conservative movement. Allowing a rotting corpse to foul the Republican brand any longer is political suicide.

But Santorum was never the issue for the anti-Romney contingent. They would have been just as happy with Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or the television hack or the pizza guy. Hell, up until two weeks ago there was serious talk by respected political minds of a brokered convention and another goddamn Bush being yanked from the closet to front the ticket. And so with the tolling bell, the anti-Romney voices shall rise up with a plan to press Gingrich to finally drop the charade and hand over his support and more importantly his delegates to Santorum for one last Pickett’s Charge.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

However, reports are now surfacing that Gingrich is adamant in making a mockery of the Republican Convention in August, threatening over the past weeks that he would seriously consider an exploratory independent research party to siphon votes from a general election pool that would in all likelihood end up in a four to six point dogfight by November. Getting out of the race for Gingrich, who realizes at this stage of his career — his advanced age and legitimacy within the party he once toiled for — has scorched every bridge he has crossed and is acting like the worst kind of political wild animal; a man with nothing left to lose.

Gingrich’s exit is the key to sustaining any real hope for survival until August for the anti-Romney contingent. Making the case that a two-man race has prevented Santorum from truly challenging Romney will have to suffice. Having a candidate drop his home state, as it appears Santorum will do in Pennsylvania barring overcoming a 12 percent deficit, is a sinking narrative, but not the death knell wrongly reported.

Ignoring the expected hoopla surrounding Romney’s inevitability, the math simply does not add up. He cannot make the requisite delegate count by August and even with a body-blow victory in Pennsylvania, beginning on May 8, the month holds a minefield for the Romney campaign. If previous primary results are any indication, contests first in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, then onto Oregon (May 15), followed by Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), and finally the mother of all Southern primaries, Texas on May 28 will at the very least keep Romney in a stalemate and may make a case for a Santorum alternative.

This is why Republican Party officials are calling for order and not a complete count of the votes. Santorum was technically right the other evening when he proclaimed the primary season at its halftime. There is voting to be done, none of which will make him the nominee, but could dismantle the inner workings of the party the way the Ronald Reagan late surge in 1976 pushed Gerald Ford to the brink, making him spend money and time proving for all intents and purposes he was as ineffectual a candidate as originally presumed. Ford’s improbable two-month comeback against Jimmy Carter fell just short, a deficit Republican historians say now could have been solidified had Reagan not selfishly cut the incumbent president to ribbons.

That is the Reagan Revolution in a nutshell; the revolt was internal, like all serviceable revolts, and like all serviceable revolts, provided casualties. But Rick Santorum is no Reagan. He is unlikable, spiteful and quick to irrational anger. Unlike Reagan, an actor, union leader, corporate pitch man and governor, he is untrained and sloppy and he, according the political high rollers, is a beast in the hen house that they have responsibly invested, maneuvered and intimidated all variables to secure.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

 

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Health Care on Trial

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/12 REALITY CHECK

HEALTH CARE ON TRIAL

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year; originally in HEALTHCARE U.S.A. 3/24/10 and later that year, CITIZEN HEALTHCARE 12/29/10. It was true then and it is true now.

No politically charged Supreme Court decision in this politically charged election year is going to change that. It is not within the boundaries of the Congress of these United States to make such laws as to force its citizens to purchase insurance. This should have been the case for the 1935 Social Security Act that forced Americans to purchase retirement insurance or the Enrollment Act of 1863 that forced American men to fight for the Union and every subsequent Selective Service or Draft laws that wiped out thousands upon thousands of American citizens, many of them in unconstitutional “wars” like Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II or even before all that the Militia Acts of 1892 that forced every American to buy muskets and gunpowder.

U.S. Supreme CourtThis shit has been going on for a long time, folks.

Hell, the damn U.S. Constitution was only four years old when the second official congress and George Washington, the first president, pissed on it. The next guy in charge, John Adams, by far the most influential revolutionaries of the 1770s, but a lunatic chief executive, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which granted the president the power to deport citizens of questionable allegiance to the United States and jail or deport journalists for writing “slanderous” or “malicious” (determined by the White House) anti-government sentiments. Andrew Jackson became the godfather of Jim Crow by wielding an iron fist across the fruited plain with the 21st congress’s unconstitutional 1830 Indian Removal Act. Oh, boy did the South hammer that baby home over one hundred years of racketeering, voter intimidation and government-sanctioned murder.

Need we go on?

Yes?

Okay, how about this nation’s most revered and influential chief executive, Abraham Lincoln, who forced an entire region to restructure its moral and economic foundations through military invasion, which brought with it an unconstitutional drafting of the poor, the eradication of due process and habeas corpus, the jailing of dissidents against the federal government and of course the radically unconstitutional Marshall Law. Woodrow Wilson subsequently abused these “safety during war time” tactics during WWI and FDR during WWII when both presidents interred thousands of innocent German and Japanese civilians respectively. The world champion of unconstitutional nonsense, Richard Nixon used the same scheme to bug, slander and intimidate anti-war protestors, wielding the CIA, IRS, FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a clumsy attempt to destroy political opponents until he was asked to leave the premises.

Some of these cases were never challenged, some challenged and overturned or embarrassingly watered down or left to expire ungracefully. Some were regionally challenged for decades like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a needed intervention of the federal government to impede Bill of Rights abuses. In the recent case of the Patriot Act, a whopper of unconstitutional chicanery, every case that was brought against it was successful, rendering most of it flaccid and ineffectual.

Not so with what the political culture pejoratively refers to as Obamacare, which has been challenged in lower courts across the land in several states and exonerated each time. Every liberal and conservative judge has seen fit to uphold the law as constitutional, despite its controversial Individual Mandate, an invention of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s and vocally supported by the Speaker of the House and leading Republican voice at the time, Newt Gingrich. It was a collective Right Wing knee-jerk response to the massive socialized medicine overhaul presented by then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course.

This same blue print was formed and enacted by another current Republican challenger to the president, Mitt Romney, when his derisively coined Romneycare became the law of Massachusetts in 2006. And the man he now challenges? Barack Obama spent thousands of campaign dollars horse-whipping the aforementioned Ms. Clinton for “mandating Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty” in the spring of ’08, something he signed into law 24 months later.

The Individual Mandate, reeking with congressional history through Conscription and Social Security is the constitutional sticking point of Obamacare and not the Single-Payer socialist model utilized in every industrialized nation in the free world and what the liberal/progressive lobby has bellowed about for 60 years. This is a halfway house for insurance companies, one of the leading lobbies in the final days of this law’s formation, to gain millions of new clients.

Perhaps only the Individual Mandate will be struck down by a predictable 5-4 margin or maybe, in an uncommon move by the highest court in the land, a reasonable hedge decision of cutting off the Individual Mandate clause and leaving intact the most controversial law since the Patriot Act and certainly as economically driven a law since the Civil Rights Act. But as a fulcrum to the process, the Individual Mandate may take with it the entirety of the law and consequently the thousands of participants either benefiting or being hounded by its slow infusion into the national marketplace.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course. The vagaries of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, although in spirit was originally included by the framers as a legal means to prevent a federalist construct in interstate trade and currency, certainly left a gaping legal hole in its letter. It is not unlike the currently eviscerated Stand Your Ground law that proponents claim was not implemented to include blue-line wannabes chasing down and murdering black teens. Sorry, no rule is singular, and neither is the Commerce Clause.

Thus the Commerce Clause has been used for a myriad of insanities over the two-century plus existence of this republic and it has its place here. If the Supreme Court rules against it, then it will be doing so in abject rejection to former rulings on Wickard v Filburn, which allowed congress to limit the amount of wheat grown by an Ohio farmer in 1942 or the 2005 criminalization of homegrown marijuana case of Gonzalez v Raich.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is eventually ruled unconstitutional in June of this year, it will certainly reveal an incredible opportunity for those motivated enough to abolish Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare or Federal Income Tax or any of the dozens of federal laws that are and have always been unconstitutional.

Don’t tread on me?

Indeed.

 

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Look Away Dixie Land

Aquarian Weekly 3/28/12 REALITY CHECK

LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND

In human history a moral victory is always a disaster, for it debauches and degrades both the victor and the vanquished. – H.L. Mencken

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton Old times there are not forgotten Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land. – Daniel Decatur Emmett

Ah, the South. Lincoln’s great mistake; not allowing a full and complete secession from the Union to stand, providing the free-market mechanism to eventually take from it the power, ideology and half-baked customs that has been the bane of the American existence for lo these many decades. By crushing the South militarily, it not only cost the 16th president his life, but it left the defeated with a sense of martyrdom and the pangs of vengeance which has filled volumes of American literature, sordid history and rancorous expression for 147 long years. Since, the South never disappoints when it comes to shenanigans of all kinds — political, social, racial, religious; it remains our witless cousin; the one the money people like the Kennedys or the Romneys would keep in the basement and feed dog food and tell the neighbors was a bad rumor.

Trayvon MartinOh, but the South is not a bad rumor. It is real.

Well, as real as the South gets.

Apparently in our most southern of states, Florida, a certified legal and binding prefecture of these United State — where law breeds a hazy mystical sludge and civil rights are up for debate on color, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, patriotism, media outlets and celebrity — you can kill another citizen and not be incarcerated. Joining Texas, South Carolina and Mississippi for this nation’s highest under-prosecuted murder rate and by far highest hate-crime per capita, the Sunshine State takes front and center this week for its ham-fisted legislative racketeering and obligatory confederate axiom to shoot first and figure out the motivation much, much, much later.

Much later.

Twenty-six days later by the time of this writing.

The shooting of a17 year-old African American boy named Trayvon Martin by a civilian that carried the vague title of Neighborhood Watchman, which in the real world and not that of the South means vigilante, has yet to include an arrest. The alleged killer, George Zimmerman, who has a criminal record and a history of domestic violence, reported on a 911 call that Martin “looked suspicious” and then for reasons only known to Zimmerman gunned the boy down with nothing more than a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea on him.

Whoops.

Whoops that end in the death of a citizen, whether black, white, green or purple, whether teenager, infant, cross-dresser, priest or octogenarian in the real world and not that of the South usually ends in at first a manhunt, and especially in this case, wherein there is a full admission of guilt, an arrest.

This is not merely a South problem it is humanity’s problem, however the environment, the aura, and the acceptable social behaviors of these states and their region of origin do not legally sanction such arbitrarily deadly behavior.

What is keeping Zimmerman a free man is a very interesting law (not in the real world and only that of the South) passed by the Florida state legislature and signed into law by its then governor, the honorable Jeb Bush in 2005. Called “Stand Your Ground’, this law allows citizens to carry automatic weapons and use them at their discretion if feeling threatened. According to statistics released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, since the law was enacted seven years ago, justified homicides in Florida have jumped threefold.

Whoops.

Yes, and while I have to say that I am certainly on the fence about such a law in that if it had been available to me, along with an automatic weapon of my choosing, in the Bronx from 1962 to 1972 and central New Jersey from 1972 to 1982, and certainly in Westchester, New York from 1982 to 2001, and here in the great mountains of New Jersey from 2001 to the present day, there would be a phalanx of bodies piled up behind me from the proverbial here to the probable there. Oh, yes. I felt threatened, was threatened, and beyond that all-out assaulted by every manner of cretin known to civilized man. Having the opportunity to shoot these people might have appealed to me then, especially if the law allowed it, and the law, in Florida (not in the real world and only that of the South) indeed does.

Whoops.

Okay, so maybe as Zimmerman and the confused and beleaguered Sanford city local government and police force maintain, he was threatened, assaulted or put down by a 17 year-old kid and his buddies armed with sugar water and fruity candy, then maybe, according to the law, he has a case. He has done nothing wrong. Justice? For what, protecting his personage against onslaught — real or imagined? Remember the law clearly states that all one needs is to “feel threatened” by someone “looking suspicious”. Justified killing on a feel and a look is regional dialect for not in the real world and only that of the South.

Or…

The South shall rise again.

So now, as with Louisiana during Katrina and Texas during Waco and Mississippi during the 1960s with the murders of Medgar Evars and Martin Luther King, burning of black churches, killing of voter rights protestors — sheesh, I have no room for all of Mississippi’s bullshit — and on and on and on, the federal government, already broke, and the American citizenry, always the collective fall-guy for this nonsense, will have to pay for a proper investigation.

This is, after all, Florida, which gave us the constitutional crisis known as the 2000 presidential election (orchestrated by, you got it, the honorable Jeb Bush) that took federalist comedy to new lows. But even for a fairly screwed up political system, this is a pretty substantial clusterfuck. Dead kids are bad for business. Dead black kids, well that’s bad for everyone everywhere, especially in the South.

Look, no one is claiming that if such a law were to make it through the New York state legislature or in Minnesota or Massachusetts or Illinois that people wouldn’t be “feeling” like shooting each other “under suspicion” hourly. This is not merely a South problem it is humanity’s problem, however the environment, the aura, and the acceptable social behaviors of these states and their region of origin do not legally sanction such arbitrarily deadly behavior.

This is what goes on in the South.

Whoops…it’s legal.

 

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Super Tuesday Dud 2012

 

Aquarian Weekly 3/14/12
REALITY CHECK

SUPER DUD
Derailed February for GOP Ends with a Super Tuesday Whimper

Money, influence, and party politics are turning to chum whatever reasoning Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can muster for staying in a race for the Republican nomination for president. The contest has been, for all intents and purposes, over since this space declared it so on January 18. Well, not completely “over” in that it will take an unforeseen streak for the inevitable nominee Mitt Romney to reach the requisite 1,191-delegate threshold by the August convention, which makes way for greasy dealings and backstabbing galore.

Romney is SafeBut at this juncture either Gingrich or Santorum would have to first convince the other candidate to leave the race and make Romney sweat his 38 percent voter ceiling to lend the slightest credence to a sustained candidacy. But neither is likely to do that and thus with mostly proportional delegates awarded, this dog-and-pony show will likely drag on long enough to force the Romney camp to spend crucial general-election cash and endure a slew of unflattering interviews and awkward stump speeches further yanking its candidate to the Right.

So far the Right has not been kind to Romney, neither in base voting, which languishes in the 28 percent range, nor perception; whether it is his spectacular three-hour flip-flop on the idiotic Blunt Amendment or the bold-face lying on his opposition to a single-mandate Health Care Law, which he trumpeted as late as 2009 in his own Wall St. Journal op-ed piece. It is a place Gingrich initially (immigration) and now Santorum (social issues) have succeeded in cornering Romney that has slowly eroded his national election polls among likely Independent, women and Latino voters.

Still, the math favors Romney measurably.

Super Tuesday’s six-out of ten state grab-bag for the frontrunner may have provided fodder for punditry, but it hardly changes the cold fact: Even a mano-a-mano campaign with either Santorum or Gingrich would call for the challenger to net over 60 percent of the remaining vote to make this competitive.

Thus…over.

Wrangling over a margin of victory in Michigan or Ohio (likely Democratic states come November) or his no-show Southern vote unless Ron Paul is the only challenger on the ballot, as was the case in Virginia (another strongly potential Barack Obama battleground) still finds Romney entering the late-spring in a commanding position to gather more Republican establishment power and unite the guaranteed 42 percent of the national electorate.

And so the two-year TEA Party run is reduced to a sad echo and whatever is left of the whining “Anyone but Mitt” contingent will be expected to get in line like obedient anti-Obama automatons, hold their collective nose, and vote, vote, vote.

The only question now is how much more damage can the Gingrich/Santorum Road Show do to the Republican brand?

Gingrich is finished. His campaign trail has lead to a sad commentary on his character and more so on his very subsistence on the national stage that appears more of joke every day he spits out his predictable Clinton-Era drivel. He is the comedy relief, the new Donald Trump; a slow-motion political car wreck merely perpetuated for cheap headlines and bombastic quotes. Ironically, only his sworn enemy, the media — beyond a Las Vegas gambling mogul — gives a shit about Newt Gingrich anymore. He’s good press like Lindsey Lohan or the Octomom. Gingrich has succeeded in being the celebrity footnote he’d always dreamed, but this farce of his has a week to go.

Santorum is another thing altogether.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

Santorum has the Mike Huckabee mojo behind him. He will keep getting Republican votes, as they were painstakingly created during the Reagan Revolution and used to great effect by Karl Rove in George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. The Religious Right may not have national muscle, but regionally, especially in the South, it is a bitch and it resonates. It resonates so sharply that a candidate with practically no funding and an organization so inept it failed to fill out simple campaign paperwork that cost Santorum key congressional districts in Ohio and the entirety of Virginia Primary is still relevant.

The Religious Right, despite its abhorrence of the Catholic Church, urged Santorum to up the ante on the religious liberty canard, attack birth control, slander homosexuality and engage in an embarrassing breadth of moral proselytizing. This daily emesis stirred the Liberal press, which consequently tumbled into the Conservative radio market, where its champion, Rush Limbaugh channeled his inner Howard Stern and began to sound like the crazed mother from Carrie, chasing over 30 sponsors and provoking his obligatory public apology.

Why in the world, beyond placating sponsors, would a man handsomely paid to be provocative have to apologize for doing his job is anyone’s guess, just as it is anyone’s guess why the Georgetown law student he called a slut, or any woman or man over the age of ten for that matter, would give a flying fart what this gasbag says?

Fuck Limbaugh and fuck this whining little shit, and fuck the president for “calling to see if she was all right”. This gratuitous condescension reeks of dime-store misogyny and sets women’s rights back decades. Limbaugh is a glorified carnival barker with crippling marrying and eating disorders. This Sandra Fluke woman is as much a victim as the poor souls who have to listen to her sniveling martyrdom. If she is a victim at all, it is merely of bad taste and a shitty swipe at humor from a guttural swine that wouldn’t know funny if it bit him on his considerable ass.

I ask you; who isn’t the victim of bad taste?

Holy crap, this column has gone off the rails.

Suffice to say the only subjects worth writing about when the alternative is Mitt Romney are disc jockeys, law geeks and a Democratic Party that exploits this kind of atavistic “kitty stuck in a tree” garbage every woman in America should find offensive.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

And I’d rather not write anymore about Mitt fucking Romney.

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